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The Cook's Encyclopaedia [Paperback]

Tom Stobart
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 May 1982
Several judges said they.. 'would be lost without this book, which segues effortlessly between exhaustive reference work and handy recipe book, and back again. It explains the world of the kitchen, whether you're a beginner or an old hand, revealing the facts behind foods, equipment and techniques. Stobart describes how baking powder works, for instance, the temperature at which bacteria grow, and how to make your own tomato ketchup, so every time you dip into this book, you'll be better equipped to return to the stove.' Arranged alphabetically from Abalone to Zampone, the majority of entries in the book deal with the ingredients and processes used in cooking. Tom Stobart says in his Introduction to the book..' Ingredients are the fundamentals of cookery and every cook who hopes to excel should know about them...What I have tried to do is to list as a wide a range as possible to give some of their background and to identify their particular characteristics.' Likewise with methods and science in the kitchen, Stobart explains all the common processes from bottling brewing, brining, curing, smoking and vacuuming.'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; New edition edition (27 May 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333330366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333330364
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,842,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Here in 450 pages is a descriptive compendium of just about everything we eat and how we cook it or otherwise transform it from a lower state of edibility to a higher. Hundreds, if not thousands, of ingredients are described, with English and foreign synonyms and scientific names; recipes are given in many cases to illustrate the use of the foodstuff in question.

Cooking processes are explained in great and illuminating detail. The aim is both to entertain and to instruct--in particular, to give a sense of the essence and individuality of each ingredient. Tom Stobart has travelled widely, both as an explorer and a film maker, and his book is everywhere informed by an eye for telling details and an ability to evoke the background and context of the ingredients he describes. One of the reasons why the book came to be written, he points out in his Introduction, is his love of open-air markets around the world.

The very comprehensiveness of The Cook's Encyclopaedia invites one to play a kind of game, finding items that haven't been included. Sea cucumber? "...a holothurian, a roughly sausage-shaped relative of the sea-anemone..." Oh, all right, then. Carageen? "...a tufted and fan-like seaweed..." Isinglass? "..an equivalent of gelatine made from the swim-bladders of sturgeon..." This is an endlessly fascinating and browsable book. Nigella? "A plain-looking species of love-in-the-mist with creamy flowers..."--Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"'A Must, comprehensive, well-organized and well-written...This is a serious and important work of reference, but it is also extremely readable. Those who acquire it will find themselves dipping into it constantly and that it affords them as much pleasure as instruction.' Alan Davidson, Oxford Companion to Food" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone serious about their food. 27 Aug 2007
I first bought this book 20 odd years ago and has remained my constant companion in the kitchen. Thoughful and full of insights this book has an article on just about every ingredient you are likely to come across at home or abroad.

The Cook's Encyclopaedia should be bought by or for any one with an interest in food and cookery and read cover to cover when first purchased and after that it should always be within hands reach.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Cook Should Have One! 7 April 2005
If you are a keen cook, or looking for a gift for one, you should look no futher than this Cook's Encyclopaedia. It's a terrific reference book for taking the pain out of approaching new ingredients (WHAT DOES ONE DO WITH AN ARTICHOKE?) or needing to understand techniques.
It has few recipes but this is not why you need it. Your recipe books need this on the shelf beside them! Go on, treat yourself!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible 4 Nov 2009
By Redfern
I have had this book since its original publication and it still entertains and informs me. No-one who cooks should be without it. Informative? Extremely. Quirky? Definitely. On my top three favourite book lists
David Redfern
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful and Interesting 11 Dec 2008
By A. Skeie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a useful and informative book to have around. It also has some recipes, such as for nettle beer, pasta, tips on cooking wild rice, how to make ketchup, mayonnaise(along with possible origins), tofu (as in hot to make it), and plenty of ideas of what to do with food ingredients you might not have known about so easily otherwise. Few of the recipes are detailed or as you would find them in a cookbook (many are more like ideas or guidelines), but anyone with basic knowledge of cooking would be able to figure something out to do with a specific ingredient or process.

One recipe I just stumbled upon that I am sure to try is Ragi Dosas, made with millet, an ingredient I have been a bit puzzled by.

I would say it's also not a bad gift for the experienced cook or cook looking to get acquainted with many ingredients and processes. This certainly makes a comprehensive addition to my cookbook library.
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